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Within two weeks the first West Coast Pro Stock reunion will take place at the Bakersfield CHRR – 2016. While California is known for Top Fuel cars galore and machines of every drag racing category, it is time that Pro Stock cars and drivers from the formative days of the early ‘70s are also recognized.
This writer recalls, during 1969 there was an effort made to produce fields of Unlimited Super Stocks. Division 7 NHRA Director Bernie Partridge pushed for this as did most other NHRA leaders across the country. There seemed to be a gap between a Hemi Super Stock and an SS/A type Camaro or Cobra Jet Ford Mustang.
As the 1970 season opened at Pomona for the NHRA Winternationals, lots of fans thought the Hemi Darts and Barracudas would prove too superior to create a ‘hotly contested’ field. However, this did not happen.
When the smoke settled on Sunday afternoon, Bill Jenkins had won the inaugural Pro Stock feature with a ’68 Camaro. Bill would go on to win two more high ranked Pro Stock events (OCIR All Pro and NHRA Gatornationals) before the overwhelming factory backing of Mopar entries made them dominate for a time.
The category was now set, Jenkins had proven to everyone that indeed a Chevrolet Camaro could win, and dozens of Ford enthusiasts pushed for the high horsepower Fords to catch up. They did too, when Dyno Don Nicholson won NHRA titles driving a Ford Cammer powered Maverick.
While the east coast was home to Jenkins, and Mid America included Detroit, there were several hard core racing teams who answered the call in the west. Folks like Dandy Dick Landy, the Ford Drag Team of Ed Terry, Butch ‘the California Flash’ Leal and Tom Jacobsen with his latest edition of ‘old blue’..